How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Saraland Alabama
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Saraland AL is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Saraland AL hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Sports injuries
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Saraland AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Saraland AL area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Saraland AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Saraland AL area and throughout Alabama, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call several Saraland AL physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Saraland AL area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Saraland AL clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Saraland health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Saraland AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Saraland Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Saraland AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.
The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.
Saraland was sparsely populated during the first part of the 20th century, until an industrial and population boom occurred in neighboring Mobile. Northward expansion of Mobile in the 1940s and 50s brought about the incorporation of Saraland in 1957. At the time of incorporation, the city reported only 125 residents. By the 1960 U.S. Census, annexations had swelled the population to 4,595. In 1980, census figures cited 9,844 Saraland residents. Current census records report that as of 2017, Saraland's population is estimated to have grown to 14,576.
What Degree Does A Physical Therapist Need Saraland AL
Picking the right physical therapy program is an important initial decision you must make to launch a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on What Degree Does A Physical Therapist Need. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapy program keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Saraland AL.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in Alabama
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